Police said they are considering the incident where a bullet struck the side of a trailer-tractor on a Phoenix freeway on Thursday as the 11th possible attack in a series of shootings to have occurred over the past two weeks.
There could possibly be more than one gunman involved, authorities said. Police were investigating at least one other incident – a projectile striking and impacting a car window – that could be related.
There have been 10 other reported shootings on or near Interstate 10 in the last two weeks, as reported by NBC News. Of them, seven strikes were reported to be bullets, while the remaining were projectiles. The only injury occurred to a 13-year-old girl who was cut by glass of the car window when the bullet struck the vehicle.
On August 29, the first shootings occurred. Three vehicles traveling along I-10, including an SUV, empty commercial tour bus and passenger car, were struck. The subsequent two days saw two more shootings. The next string of shootings occurred starting Sunday, wherein two box trucks, two pickups, a passenger car and a tractor trailer were struck. The latest incident was reported on Thursday morning.
While the only injury has occurred to a 13 year old, Col. Frank Milstead, the DPS director, said drivers may not be safe enough if the shootings continue, as reported by CNN. “All of these acts are potentially lethal encounters,” Milstead said. “When you’re shooting into a moving vehicle with unwitting occupants, (it could be) lethal.”
He said the attacks were acts of “domestic terrorism.”
Governor Doug Ducey tweeted, saying, “the safety of Arizonans is our number one priority.”
“I’d ask Arizonans to remain alert and aware. And we’re going to find who’s doing this and bring them to justice,” he said. He appealed to the public for help. A $20,000 reward is being offered by the officials.
Robert McDonald, who was almost a victim of the series of shootings that have terrorized drivers, said he was driving an empty tour bus when a bullet flew and struck the seat next to where he was sitting. Had its intensity been a little more powerful, the bullet would have grazed his shoulder, he said.
“And if I would have moved my head,” he said, “I would have got hit.”
State police and local departments’ SWAT teams have been deployed in the area. FBI resources and highway surveillance cameras are also being utilized to keep a check on the area.
The shootings are reminiscent of the 2002 shootings that terrorized the Washington, D.C., area, where 10 people were killed. The gunman in the case was John Allen Muhammad, who was executed in 2009. Muhammad’s accomplice, Lee Boyd Malvo, is currently serving life imprisonment without possibility of parole.
“We don’t have a suspect in mind yet,” Milstead said. “But we will find who this is. And hopefully, we get to them before someone is seriously injured or killed.”
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